In the winter of 431 BC, Pericles in Ancient Athens, gave a funeral oration to honor Athenians who fought with their lives against Sparta. This act was nothing more than a tribute to people who fought for the prevalence of a democracy, the world’s oldest one, and a progressive social system, as opposed to authoritarian Sparta. Today, different fights for more progressive systems have come back to the foreground as social rights – especially the welfare state – are confined inside economies that are struggling more anfd more for competitiveness.
For me, personally, the top issues of a Social Europe are:
– Labor relations – in particular, the unpaid internships for young people – is something that gives a breath to business but it shows to young people a union that does not reflect the values of solidarity. The recent campaign of S&D was the beginning, but much more regarding a coordinated policy action is needed. In the end, it is the best fight against populism by protecting the workers’ rights.
– Τhe deterioration of the welfare state in the countries most affected by the crisis. Progressive Europe can not respond with coupons and programs for the unemployed people. There is a serious need for a solid social protection framework and at the same time more attention should be given to Europe’s working poor.
– Youth issues, equal and quality of information and mobility opportunities often do not help to reduce gaps but end up as free opportunities without any quality results. If we want to invest in a united Europe, we must produce this idea among all young people.
In conclusion, I sincerely believe that social democracy is the key to deepening democracy in Europe. But this has to be done within a dynamic framework that will allow especially bottom-up initiatives and will create a positive result of a common European identity, especially within small societies.